Prime minister resigns days after president appeals for help from international construction firms

The Latvian government has fallen in the wake of the collapse of a supermarket in Riga.

Latvian prime minister Valdis Dombrovskis announced his resignation today after a supermarket collapsed killing 54 people last week.

Earlier this week, Latvian president Andris Berzins appealed for foreign construction consultants to help in investigating why the building collapsed. He said the disaster was man-made and should be investigated at “maximum speed”.

Berzins told state broadcaster LTV: “While not undermining the professionalism of our builders, I believe that we should call upon international expertise which is in no way connected with our construction business.”

Today, the BBC quoted Dombrovskis telling Baltic news agency Delfi: “The country needs a government which is capable of resolving the situation that has emerged”, with his spokesperson adding that the government took “political responsibility” for the tragedy.

At the time of the collapse, a garden and children’s playground were under construction on the supermarket’s roof. Latvian officials have speculated that the structure may not have been strong enough to support the additional weight.